There are many (unfounded?) concerns about Syrian refugees who come to the US.

I'm not sure what other rights apply to refugees:

  • employment
  • anti-discrimination laws
  • social security
  • due process, etc

Compared to other types of citizens in the US, what rights do refugees have?

{{Editorial note: I removed a 100% false claim from the question}}.

  • 4
    Basically, nearly 100% the rights that any other legal resident has except that if they find out you lied on refugee application, there are grounds to deport you. In addition, except for jobs dealing with explicit citizenship requirements or security screening, they also have 100% same labor rights as citizens (unlike other non-citizen residents, who may have visas which don't allow working in USA)
    – user4012
    Nov 19, 2015 at 22:06
  • Apropos nothing: Foreigner's guide to US politics: Donald Trump likes to run his mouth off (NOT just about politics or during the current campaign). Depending on who you ask, either because he has no filter, OR because he's so smart he deliberately makes shocking statements. Either way, taking everything he says seriously is not necessarily a good idea.
    – user4012
    Nov 19, 2015 at 22:11
  • Why sully a good question with Trump quotes? :)
    – user1530
    Nov 19, 2015 at 23:08
  • 1
    But Trump comment is about Muslims in general (unless the article you linked does not quote him correctly). That would include American born Muslims, Americans who converted, Muslims immigrants which are not refugees, etc... You should focus your question, is it about Trump comments or refugees'rights?
    – SJuan76
    Nov 20, 2015 at 12:04
  • 1
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Donald's idea is entirely unconstitutional, and add to that the observation that the last time people were forced to wear badges identifying their faith (stars of David) it went really, really badly. As to legal landed immigrants, they have entirely the same rights as citizens under due process of law. Period. Nov 20, 2015 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


How rigorously this is implemented varies and I don't know much about US policy in this respect but there are actually well-established international rules on this, in particular through the Geneva Convention. The US is only party to the 1967 New York protocol but it includes very similar rules.

Both are based on a similar logic, listing a number of basic rights but, instead of defining specific rules, it anchors the treatment of refugees to that of other groups of people (depending on the article either nationals or other aliens in the country). For example, here is the article on religion:

The Contracting States shall accord to refugees within their territories treatment at least as favourable as that accorded to their nationals with respect to freedom to practice their religion and freedom as regards the religious education of their children.

And here is the beginning of the article on “wage-earning employment”:

The Contracting State shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of a foreign country in the same circumstances, as regards the right to engage in wage-earning employment.

  • The question was explicitly about the US policy in particular.
    – Philipp
    Nov 23, 2015 at 15:58
  • @Philipp I think you are confused about what I meant by “US policy” and the way law in this area works. I was careful to explain why the 1967 New York protocol does apply to the US. As far as international law is concerned, those rights therefore fully apply to refugees in the US and rights of refugees in the US is what the question was about (it's not explicitly or implicitly about US law per se, my point is precisely that international law is very relevant here, at least in principle).
    – Relaxed
    Nov 23, 2015 at 16:15
  • It would certainly be possible to write a more comprehensive answer that would also include information about the way those rights are implemented in US federal and local law, case law, etc. which I why I added that I did not know much about that but I don't think a downvote makes any sense because the answer does address the question.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 23, 2015 at 16:19

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